Everyone in England wants a garden to call their own. It’s one of the main reasons they move out of London, if they were not fortunate enough to have bought a house in Hampstead in the 1960s. Ironically, no one particularly wants a house in Hampstead Garden Suburb, as it seems to have very little in the way of gardens, and a great deal in the way of large dual carriageways close by. It’s also nowhere near the Heath.
We now have a nice little front garden, and a back garden with a fish pond. I never set foot in either of them. That’s currently understandable given it has rained for the past four months, but even in summer, I just sat on the patio. I never picked up a spade or a fork, nor planted any bulbs, deadheaded any roses or trimmed any hedges. This is because I absolutely cannot stand gardening.
For me, gardening is where dreams go to die. It is where Candide ends his idealism: “Il faut cultiver notre jardin”; we should cease concerning ourselves with world events, with finding El Dorado, and instead look at the little things we can make a difference to. There is probably a great sense of achievement to be had from a day out in th garden. At the end of it, you have a big bin full of clippings, everything looks neat and tidy. You have created the best of all possible worlds, in miniature. Instead of that, you could have done something useful, like talked to your friends, or got drunk, or written a completely meaningless blog post. These are all things that advance humanity, or at any rate they would if you were Hemingway or something.
I should point out that I am delighted so many people like gardening. It means I don’t have to employ a gardener.